The level of application Liverpool's youngsters displayed against Milton Keynes Dons in the last round of the Carabao Cup will be required again tonight to beat Arsenal, Jürgen Klopp insists.
Five players – Caoimhin Kelleher, Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster, Herbie Kane and Sepp van den Berg – made their Reds debut in last month's 2-0 victory.
That win set up tonight's battle for a quarter-final spot with Arsenal as Klopp indicated further opportunities may be handed to the club's young players.
He wrote in his column in the official matchday programme: "I love the words of Pep Lijnders when he says we don't have anything but first-choice players in this squad and he is so right. We don't have first and second choices – really we don't. We have the team for a particular moment.
"Tonight we select a team to win. Winning is our first, second and third motivation – the only motivation always.
"Although not certain, the strong likelihood is that a number of our younger players will feature in some capacity tonight.
"In Milton Keynes, Caoimhin Kelleher, Ki-Jana Hoever, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster all started and equipped themselves superbly. Herbie Kane, Pedro Chirivella and Sepp van den Berg all came on off the bench. Ki-Jana isn't available to us at the moment because he is away with the Dutch national team with his respective age group.
"The attitude these players showed in the last round is exactly what will be required this evening, if again given the opportunity.
"They show the right attitude and the perfect amount of hunger each and every day they train with us at Melwood. They show us, in their actions, that they understand what an immense privilege it is to represent a club like Liverpool – it's an honour all of us blessed to work here feel.
"Clearly the ability of these players is not in question. It is their talent that has brought them here and kept them here. At this stage of their careers it is about a variety of other factors – and being ready to grasp an opportunity is a big part of it."
The boss cited Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is approaching 100 appearances for Liverpool at the age of 21, as the perfect example of how youngsters can capitalise on senior outings.
Klopp continued: "It is appropriate to point to Trent Alexander-Arnold when discussing this. This month three years ago he made his first-team debut. Against Tottenham at the weekend he made his 99th appearance for the senior side.
"The reason he has achieved this in such a short space of time, one of the four youngest in LFC history I believe, isn't just because he has amazing ability. It is because of how he has handled himself, taken his chances and dealt with setbacks and difficulties.
"There won't be a player in our current first-team squad who hasn't faced these challenges at a young age. It is the job of all us to help them and nurture them and give them an environment to grow, develop and flourish. I am confident we are doing this.
"And on that theme, again on the assumption there are some Anfield debuts for our young players this evening, it is critical that the atmosphere is one that encourages and inspires. I know our crowd will get this – they are world-class when it comes to recognising their job also."
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